creates the situation,
and, then, the situation
creates imagination.
It may, of course,
be the other way around:
Columbus was discovered
by what he found.

James Baldwin

“In Alto Adige/Südtirol le lingue sono intrecciate naturalmente, vivono una accanto all’altra e sul piano scritto sono presenti dovunque, per legge, in una sorta di dizionario a cielo aperto. Eppure stranamente questa terra non è stata capace di far diventare la traduzione, soprattutto quella letteraria, un punto di forza da curare e sostenere, una competenza del territorio da valorizzare. Ben venga quindi un progetto ambizioso come ZeLT. Lo dico come editore da anni impegnato a traghettare letteratura, non solo quella locale, da una sponda all’altra. Senza conoscere la letteratura degli altri di fatto non conosci gli altri.”
Aldo Mazza (fondatore Edizioni alphabeta Verlag)

ZeLT is the name and programme of the European Centre for Literature and Translation and is based in the City Library of Brixen/Bressanone, South Tyrol, Italy. ZeLT is a project of the South Tyrolean Authors Association.

ZeLT defines itself as a laboratory for the research of literature(s).

At ZeLT, through a multilingual and multidisciplinary approach, literature and its socio-political effectiveness is researched, written, read, translated and performed. From literary production to translation, artistic research, analogue or digital performance, ZeLT represents a place where literature as practice and experiment is lived and shared.

The cornerstone of ZeLT is rooted in the multilingual and democratic language of literature. Authors, translators and artists are invited to contribute texts, actions, readings, workshops, podcasts, editions and more, in order to spark a dialogue between the contributors themselves and the general public, with the continual aim to transcend barriers imposed by age, language and special interest groups.

As its name suggests, ZeLT, aka Zelt (in German, the abbreviation translates to – tent) wants to remain a mobile, nomadic structure. Events by ZeLT take place at its seat, the City Library of Brixen/Bressanone, as well as in other places, in active exchange with cultural institutions and partners from the independent literature scene.

ZeLT places a strong focus on communication practices not bound to a specific location via digital media (i.e. podcasts) as well as the production of printed media (postcards, posters, periodical publications etc.). The establishment of diverse archives is also planned, such as on feminist literary theory and the theory of literary translation in digital and analogue form.

The founding members and programme coordinators of ZeLT are seven authors and translators: Rut Bernardi, Arno Dejaco, Maria C. Hilber, Greta Maria Pichler, Alma Vallazza, Erika Wimmer Mazohl and Donatella Trevisan.